During the recent cleaning of the Caves of the Simulated Ruins in Villa Floridiana, in the Vomero neighborhood of Naples, significant archaeological discoveries were made.

The caves, dating back to the 19th century, were the subject of the NesIS (Neapolis Information System) research project, aimed at creating an archaeological map of the districts in the western area of Naples and verifying the presence of pre-existing Roman remains in the area. The project is being carried out by professors Marco Giglio and Gianluca Soricelli, in collaboration with the Regional Directorate of Museums of Campania and with the participation of students from the University of Naples L’Orientale.

The cleaning of the wall surfaces, intended to prepare the area for study with laser scanners, revealed two distinct construction phases: the first dating back to the 1st century AD, with the discovery of a series of pillars in opus vittatum (blocks of volcanic tuff crossed by one or more rows of bricks at regular or irregular intervals).

At the base of one of these pillars, a fragment of cocciopesto lining (Roman Opus signinum, brick or tiles broken into small pieces, mixed with lime) was found.

The next phase, in which the older structures are integrated into a sort of fake ruin, includes the duplication of the pillars, made with tuff blocks, as well as the lava stone and gypsum cladding in opus reticulatum (diamond-shaped bricks around a core of opus caementicium) made to look like.

In the final phase of the intervention, parts of the 19th-century lava stone cladding were also found. Cleaning activities also yielded fragments of ceramic material (the so-called African sigillata, amphorae, etc.).

These archaeological discoveries enrich our knowledge of the Vomero neighborhood in Roman times and offer new research avenues to reconstruct the history of the city and the forms of occupation of the western slope of Naples. In a few months, with great effort, we have managed to dignify Villa Floridiana. I have personally visited it several times to check on the progress of the work, and more will be done to restore this place to the splendor it deserves, declared Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano.

The intense work of protection, restoration, and enhancement of Floridiana, which began last October, has been accompanied from the beginning by an important research project aimed at understanding the history and topography of the site in antiquity. Thanks to collaboration with the Universities of Orientale and Molise, new and important data have already emerged documenting the probable presence of a Roman villa, parts of which were reused for the construction of the “Grotte a finte rovine” (Grotto of Faux Ruins) in the 19th-century garden (1817-1819) designed by architect Antonio Niccolini. This is a new season for one of Italy’s most beautiful historic gardens, characterized by an approach that combines knowledge, maintenance, restoration, and enjoyment to make this place increasingly open and accessible to the community and the growing public, emphasized Massimo Osanna, Director General of the MiC Museums.

Once the security work is completed, research activities will continue with the creation of a three-dimensional photogrammetric survey and a virtual tour of the complex led by Professor Angela Bosco and Dr. Rosario Valentini of the University Orientale.


Ministero della Cultura

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